Before my review of Their Eyes Were Watching God tomorrow, I thought I’d share one more beautiful passage from the book.
Janie Crawford and her husband are living near the Everglades in Florida when a hurricane comes through. They board up in a building with several others who didn’t leave town.
Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men.
That opening from Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of the best openings in literature.
The rhythm and pacing of ZNH’s sentences, the truthfulness and conviction in what she’s saying. It’s just a beautiful opening, I think.
And it sets the stage for the entire novel, along with this second paragraph.
This is so much better than my review of Animal Farm.
John Self is the protagonist in Money. I’ve already shared with you some of his pretty hilarious zingers. No doubt that Martin Amis is gifted with witty writing.
In the book, one of Self’s friends gives him a copy of Animal Farm. Self hates reading and routinely talks about his disdain of reading throughout the novel.
So, as an inexperienced reader, Animal Farm is completely over his head. The poor guy doesn’t even realize it’s an allegory.
If you can get past the “dirtiness” of this novel–and there’s a lot to get past–Money by Martin Amis is quite an entertaining book.
It’s one of the more quotable novels I’ve encountered on the list. It seems like there’s one zinger on every page.
The narrator, John Self, is a narcisstic jerk, a horrible person, but he will make you laugh. And because of that, it’s difficult not to like him at times.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes in the early pages of Money:
This is how Nathanael West describes a group of people in Hollywood who have gathered around a theater so they can catch a glimmer of a movie star.
The passage comes from The Day of the Locust:
Sometimes, I highlight a passage and then get all wordy about how awesome it is and how beautiful the writing is and how the author must be an angel of the pen.
Today, though, I won’t do that, even though I just kind of did.
Today, I present to you a passage from Henry Roth’s Call It Sleep–a passage completely out of context, completely foreign if you’ve never read the book. But, obviously, the passage provoked strong emotions in me or I wouldn’t be sharing it with you.
Here’s the passage:
Ladies, this is how guys feel right before they ask you out.
Most of you intimidate us.
While describing this feeling, most hack writers like myself might say “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach.” But Philip K. Dick describes that sensation in a much more articulate, unique way.
This, from Ubik:
Here we go.
It’s time to take a look at the next five books I’ll be reading from the Time list, with your input and suggestions last week.
These novels will numbers 65-69, and I’ll start them once I finish Ubik. When I’m done reading this next batch, I’ll be more than two-thirds of the way finished with the list.
So here are the novels I’ve chosen, in no particular order.
Tomorrow, I’ll review my 63rd book from the Time list, The Sot-Weed Factor.
That means I have 38 books remaining from the list, including Ulysses, to round out the 101 books.
It’s definitely not the homestretch, but I can at least see the homestretch off in the distance.
So which books remain? Here are the 38 novels, in alphabetical order. (Note that I’ve scheduled Ubik as my next book.)
Sometimes it’s just fun to read passages out of context.
You might not have read the book. You might not have any idea who the characters are. But, hey, these are awesome retweetable quotes!
Okay, the passages below are hardly tweetable. These Old English dialogue is taxing.
But in the context of The Sot-Weed Factor, these are a couple of my favorites.
Below, we have two of the main characters, Ebenezer Cooke and his former mentor—a fellow named Henry Burlingame—discussing Ebenezer’s slacker tendencies in the beginning of the novel.